Episode 6/9

Thursday 30th April 8.00pm

The series that searches for Britain’s best home continues. Melissa Porter, Russell Harris and Michael Holmes spend 24 hours in some of the country’s most desirable properties before viewers vote for their favourite. This week, Michael gets in touch with his creative side at an arts-and-crafts mansion, Melissa has some wholesome fun at a Georgian farmhouse and Russell gets the five-star treatment in a 19th- century town house.

‘I Own Britain’s Best Home’ sees a team of three presenters travel the length and breadth of Britain in search of the nation’s best residence. Property consultant Melissa Porter, property developer Russell Harris and property journalist Michael Holmes have the expertise and the eye to hunt down truly exceptional homes.

After making their selections, the presenters spend 24 hours in their favourite properties, getting acquainted with the features that make them unique. The series emphasises ‘the home’ as opposed to ‘the building’, and aims to encompass the story of the owners’ relationship with their properties. To this end, the presenters get to know the owners and their families to find out what drove them to design and build their homes.

Each programme features three properties of different types and offers tips on how to recreate their styles. At the end of the show, viewers have the opportunity to vote for their favourite. The winner from each heat will go through to the final, where one property will be awarded the coveted title of Britain’s Best Home 2009. The winning owners will also be awarded £20,000 to donate to the charity of their choice.

This week, Michael heads off to an arts-and-crafts mansion in the Norfolk countryside. Built in 1905, the house has a checkered history – including a period of requisition by the army and a spell as a nursing home. It is now owned by antiques expert Simon and his teenage son, Jack. Designed around a butterfly imprint, the house has an astounding 14 bedrooms and seven bathrooms. When Michael arrives, Simon gives him a map and instructs him to pick a room for the night! Simon worked hard to put the run-down property to rights, collaborating with friends and artists to create a gloriously eclectic mix of styles. In addition to the original features he inherited, Simon has added a variety of textures, from furs and silks to African artefacts. “The imagination that’s gone into this house is mind-blowing,” marvels Michael.

Elsewhere, Melissa arrives at Ally and Gary’s Georgian farmhouse in Lincolnshire. When the couple bought the property in 2003 it was in a dilapidated state, but they realised it was the perfect home for their five children. “It’s been an amazing process. We’ve learned a lot about each other,” says Gary. The pair were keen to blend period style with 21st-century comfort. Ally stuck to a Georgian colour scheme of blues, greys and deep reds, while her use of mirrors cleverly creates the illusion of space. As the family gathers around a bonfire to toast marshmallows, Melissa is charmed by her hosts. “This place is more than fancy paint schemes and gorgeous furniture – they’ve created an atmosphere that encourages the family to spend time together,” she enthuses.

In the heart of the Midlands, Russell rolls up for a blissful stay at Charlotte and Chris’s 19th-century town house. The couple love staying in boutique hotels, but after the arrival of their first baby they decided to recreate the hotel experience at home. Russell is knocked out by Charlotte’s bold use of colour and light-reflecting materials. And with chocolates, luxurious toiletries and even breakfast in bed, Russell is left wishing he could stay another 24 hours. “Charlotte and Chris could give any hotel a run for its money. I’ve had a ball,” he says. Will artistic expression, family fun or indulgent pampering swing the vote this week?

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